CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
When duty calls, Cpl. Rory MacEachern fires back with precision, and for his efforts in support of International Security Assistance Force operations he was awarded for valor in a ceremony here, July 30.
MacEachern, a military policeman with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), was presented with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device by his commanding officer, Maj. William Stophel.
During combat logistics patrols ranging from March through May, the North Attleboro, Mass., native, distinguished himself through superior performance of his duties as a machine gunner.
On one occasion while serving as a Mark II .50 caliber machine gun operator, MacEachern’s convoy came under heavy small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. Due to his vigilance, he was able to identify the enemy fighter and after engaging with his crew served weapon, the threat was eliminated.
On yet another instance, MacEachern proved himself just as effective when equipped with a MK-19 Grenade Launcher.
While providing security during the evacuation of a wounded comrade, the convoy came under indirect fire. Amid the chaos of sustained enemy fire, the calm and collected MacEachern was able to eliminate two enemy grenadiers and a mortar team while displaying expert precision with his designated weapon, actions which allowed the convoy to safely exit the danger area and continue with its mission.
Though he may have been the one pulling the trigger, the humble Marine made it clear that the actions for which he was awarded for were the result of nothing more than team effort.
“At one point, Lance Cpl. [Anthony] Johnson was actually pointing out the threats for me, directing my fire,” said MacEachern. “We worked together to move our truck into position, and once I was able to positively identify the enemy, I engaged.”
MacEachern noted that one of the logistics patrols was moving a bit slower than usual, but enemy threat was low and little more than an improvised explosive devise or two were expected.
Regardless, the gunner and his team remained aware of their surroundings and acted appropriately.
Alpha Company’s First Sgt. James Gillespie would have expected nothing less from a Marine of MacEachern’s stature.
“He’s an outstanding young Marine and was our choice for being combat meritoriously promoted to his current rank,” said Gillespie, a native of Stafford, Va.
“Being able to make those kinds of decisions; the correct decisions, in this environment says a lot about him,” said Gillespie. “Someone else in his position could have hesitated for too long or just opened fire without taking everything into consideration first, but being the experienced gunner he is, he did an outstanding job.”
While MacEachern realizes the meaning behind receiving the small bronze “V” pinned to the orange and green ribbon of his new medal, he said he and his fellow Marines did exactly what others would have done in their shoes.
“It’s just one of those, ‘right place, at the right time’ kind of things,” he said. “For me, today is just another day in Afghanistan.”